City reacts to Wal-Mart Supercenter

Written by Torry Barnes

The Wal-Mart Supercenter brings new competition to local Rexburg shops and stores, said Greg Duessen, manager at Broulim’s Fresh Food in Rexburg.

Jerry Merrill, Rexburg mayor, said it is always hard to predict what effect a new business might have on other local businesses.

“We don’t really have a crystal ball,” Merrill said. “Our hope, of course, is that they all do well.”

Merrill said it is typical for a new business to take customers from other businesses for a short period of time.

“When a new store opens, the initial excitement will pull people there, so some of the stores will see a decrease for a while,” he said.

Duessen said he is expecting to see a minor decrease in customers for the first month or two, especially from BYU-Idaho students.

“We’d be crazy to say that this will not affect us at all, because it’s going to,” Duessen said. “People want to go and check out the new thing in town.”

Duessen said after the first couple of months, they should be able to get much of their business back.

“We’ll just try to win our customers over with the best pricing we can and customer service,” Duessen said.

Duessen said despite what outcome the new Wal-Mart will bring to the store, Broulim’s will always be a community-centered store.

“It’s not all about making money,” Duessen said. “Obviously, we have to stay in business, but our customers are the reason we are here every day.”

Merrill said the north entry location of the new Wal-Mart might create business from northern towns like St. Anthony, Driggs and Ashton.

“That’d bring new customers into town instead of robbing from the other businesses,” Merrill said.

Michael Fairbanks, a junior studying business management, said the new Wal-Mart will not change his current shopping patterns.

“I personally enjoy Broulim’s sushi, which Wal-Mart doesn’t provide,” Fairbanks said. “I will still go to Wal-Mart for things I can find at Wal-Mart, and I will go to Broulim’s and Albertsons for the things I can find there.”

Asher Harris, a sophomore studying web design and development, said she will still go to Broulim’s for the special prices on food, but take the free shuttle to Wal-Mart for any other supplies she needs.

“There is a shuttle running there, so there is no reason not to go,” Harris said.

Christina Stafford, a freshman studying elementary education, said she will stop going to Broulim’s because the Wal-Mart Supercenter will have everything she needs in one place.

“I’ll have the produce I need and everything else,” Stafford said.

Coley Coombs, a freshman studying business management, said he will shop at the Wal-Mart Supercenter because it will be more convenient and timely.

“I like Broulim’s and Albertsons; they have good food,” Coombs said. “However, Wal-Mart has it all.”

Cole White, a freshman studying psychology, said he will go wherever the prices are cheaper.

“I have my own vehicle, so if groceries are cheaper at Broulim’s, I can go to Broulim’s,” White said. “If I need to go to Wal-Mart, I’ll go to Wal-Mart.”

Merrill said he hopes Rexburg can grow at a steady enough pace to allow all businesses in town to flourish.

“Our biggest wish is just to encourage people to shop locally and support the local economy,” Merrill said.

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